Birthday Weekend away

Covid-19 really put a damper on all of our travel plans this year. It also meant my husband working overtime and me, as a freelance graphic designer, completely out of work. Talk about a weird balance to get used to. We had to cancel overseas plans and smalls trips too. Six months after quarantine started, September rolled up and it was my birthday. Mentally I needed to get out of my house and out of my city for some fresh air and a new space. We couldn’t go far. Personally I’m not ready to fly and I’m don’t want to go the the over crowded beaches.

We decided to take an easy drive north of the city to Dahlonega and the north Georgia mountains. We rented a nice and secluded VRBO called the Swag House. It was about a mile off of the main road and so quiet. It was the perfect weekend spot, close to hiking, downtown and the wineries.

What have you been doing to getaway during these covid months?

Omakase at District M

The Japanese word Omakase literally translates to “I will leave you to it” i.e. giving the chef the choice to choose your entire meal. It’s a great way to try dishes you wouldn’t normally order. It’s also great because you don’t have to make any decisions about what you eat and that’s always the hardest part. LOL!

For this meal experience you need to sit at the sushi bar as the chef makes everything in front of you. They’ll make a piece of nigiri sushi and place it right in front of you to eat. This goes on for at least an hour. Along with the sushi the chef will serve other otsumami (small bites).

Oyster Cheers!

We started the meal off with oysters
on the half shell, topped with uni and caviar.
Naturally we had to cheers with them.

We followed the oysters with tuna tartar topped with uni on toast with caviar, a sashimi platter and A5 Wagyu beef (the best beef in the world). The Wagyu was seared on a hot stone and literally melted in our mouths.

Hot Stone Prep

They prepped the hot stone
by greasing it with Wagyu fat

Next up we enjoyed a few rounds of sashimi.

Every piece of nigiri was fresh and melted in my mouth! This isn’t all of the nigiri we ate but a good portion of it.
We couldn’t finish the night off without a little dessert too. We enjoyed the matcha creme brulee and chocolate mousse (I’m a sucker for anything chocolate).

This omakase meal is hands down in the top five best meals I’ve ever had. I encourage you to try this in your city. It’s pricey but well worth the money.

Not pictured: Japanese cocktails and Japanese whiskey

Hot Cocktail Spots | ATL

Fun, low light spots to grab sexy cocktails with your people!

Clermont Hotel Lounge

Seedy past & seedy future.. The Clermont hotel lounge is on the main level when you walk in. They also have a beautiful rooftop bar and a classic Atlanta strip club in the basement. It’s one of those, you have to go at least once, spots in Atlanta. The lounge though, where you can grab this cocktail is a 50’s moody vibe with vintage Playboy’s laid around the bar. Go!

Bar Margot | Four Seasons Hotel

Swanky decor, sexy cocktails, and the perfect location to grab cocktails with your crew.

Little Trouble

Follow the neon lights. Originally meant to have a speakeasy vibe, the entrance guides you in with a large red & blue neon sign with their logo. Blade runner vibes & low lights make this spot one of my favorites for a cocktail (or more).

Little Spirit

This is all I’ll say, fun cocktails, the sex panther (IYKYK), tupac and biggie.

Ticonderoga Club

This spot is tucked away in one of our (Atlanta’s) best food halls, Krog Street Market. It’s small and dark moody decor make for the perfect spot to shy away and grab a few drinks.

Each one of these spots is sexy and low light. The cocktails are on point and you can easily sneak away into a corner if you don’t want to be seen. 😉
Where are you going first?

City Hopping – Barcelona

Barcelona is one of my favorite cities abroad. It is the perfect combination of European city life and beach life. It’s truly the best of both worlds with an amazing food scene, beautiful gothic architecture and a topless beach. [team free the nipple and normalize female bodies not sexualize them]

When I was in art school, we studied gothic architecture, specifically the Casa Batllo designed by Gaudí. He’s one of my favorite gothic artists. Aside from the gothic aesthetics, his designs are magical. Colorful, organic and whimsey. I truly believe his architecture is his imagination come to life.

And there’s the beautiful basilica de la sagrada familia, that is still under construction… after 135 years. They say it should be done in 2026, lol.

The colorful stained glass windows are one of my favorite features. You can’t tell how colorful they are from the outside but once you enter the church and you see the sunlight fill the room, then you see the rainbow of colors. Some of the windows depict stories from the bible and others are geometric designs with different shades of colors. I actually prefer that shapes over the stories, it allows the imagination to create.

So what do you think, do you think Gaudí’s architecture is his imagination come to life, or gothic principles on steroids. 😉

Have you been here? What was your favorite spot to go to? If you haven’t been before, what is the first thing you would go see? Or eat? I’ll do a separate food post soon!

Breakfast Sammies

Breakfast sandwiches are a little love of mine. Eggy & cheesy + bread or cream cheese & smoked salmon + more bread.. you get the trend. Dairy plus carbs, you can’t go wrong.

Victory C.C. (Formally DAC)

Think gas station style biscuits (buttery and salty) but much level flavor! Egg and cheese pictured here but they also have bacon and sausage.
Victory Coffee & Calamity was formally call Dekalb Athletic Club, they changed the name in the Summer 2020)

Emerald City Bagels

Smoked salmon, cream cheese & red onions on a poppyseed bagel is my go to, they were out so I opted for the everything bagel this day but still, so drool worthy!

Sama Food for Balance

Does a savory, gluten free chickpea flour pancake taco count as a sandwich? I’m saying yes, the Pitta Taco is filled with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, coconut mint raita, avocado, fresh greens. Refreshing and light!

Bar Bacoa

Spanish inspired, fried egg & pork sammie with potatoes on the side (naturally)

8arm

Crab meat and fish roe on a toasted bagel!

Btoo’s

I know, I know, it looks like a waffle..with a salad, & you’re right, it is. HOWEVER, look closer, on the right side of the waffle, it’s sliced open and stuffed with avocado and smoked salmon! HOLY FUCK!

Russ & Daughters | NYC

The absolute best smoked salmon bagel anywhere, hands down, fight me on it. I will go here over any other spot in NYC. LOVE!

What are you eating first?? and yes, I know, I have a thing for bagels. That post is coming soon too!

Millennial Toasts Toasts

Sometimes I think I’m not a millennial but then I remember I’m making avocado toast for lunch for the tenth day in a row, lol! Our city fully embraced the toast trend and I’m here for it, check these spots out! Plus a bonus spot in San Francisco that is V Instagram-able (& so tasty).
[on your phone? turn your phone sideways for optimal viewing – you’re welcome]

Cold Brew Bar

Avocado Toast – sour dough bread with soft boiled egg.

Toasty

Unicorn Toast! Toasty is in San Francisco so naturally the toast is sour dough. They use food coloring to die the cream cheese (choose your colors) and then top it with sprinkles and an edible flower! Delish!

Muchacho

Salmon toast with pickled red onions

Cold Brew Bar

Smoked salmon toast on sourdough bread with Arugula, and yes they get two posts because they’re amazing. One of my fav coffee shops, great coffee and delicious food!!

Bar Margot

Inside the Four Seasons Atlanta, this crab toast is lightly toasted bread, a spreading of avocado, stacks of crab meat, radishes and greens!

Cooks & Soliders

Caña Klasikoa is a Pintxos style toast, pulling inspiration from Northern Spain. This is goat cheese, roasted tomato, green pepper, red onion, and pistachio on top of mountain bread

Bar Mercado

Chef’s bites, complementary with your cocktail during happy hour. This shrimp toast hits right with your cocktail!

Which one would you try first? Let me know in the comments!

Travel – Unique Coffee Shop Drinks

Trying out a new coffee shop is one of my favorite was to explore a new city! It makes it even better when the coffee shop has a fun, unique coffee or tea to try. Check out these fun drinks on your next travel adventure:

Vanilla Peacock Latte

Home | San Francisco
They are known for their colorful latte art!

Tumeric Latte

Toasty | San Francisco

Clockwork Orange

Brother Moto | Atlanta
Fall latte that tastes like those orange flavored chocolates (shaped like an orange) from London!

Matchapanela

Academy Coffee | Atlanta
Matcha tea + aquapanela (raw sugar cane boiled down in water with lime)

Irish Coffee

The Buena Vista | San Francisco – coffee, sugar cube, Irish whiskey and cream. This is the best on in San Fran!

Latte with Animal Crackers

Tryst | D.C.- ok so the latte is basic but they serve it with an animal cracker and that’s pretty awesome!

Beet Latte

Cultivate Food | Atlanta

Coalemonade

Gilly Brew Bar | Atlanta
Espresso, charcoal and lemonade – amazing!

Atlanta Unique Eats – Savory

Looking for some unique savory eats in Atlanta? Check these out when you’re in town, in no particular order:
[on your phone? turn your phone sideways for optimal viewing – you’re welcome]

Bakey Bakes

Thunderbiscuits – a soft boiled egg inside of the most buttery chive biscuit. You’ll die and go to heaven and then cry after the last bite because it’s over.

Gunshow

It doesn’t even matter what this dish is (it’s goat carnitas) because it’s most likely not on the menu now. This spot is known for its experience. 6-8 chefs, each make two dishes. They bring the dish around to each table, show it off & tell you about it. If you want it, they leave it with you and you eat, if not they move on to the next table. The menu changes every 6 weeks and features what’s in season.

Poke Burri

Sushi donuts and sushi burritos?? They have a secret menu, and if you order my secret sushi burrito the “salut” you’re in for a real treat! (hint, it’s spicy!)

Superica’s Golden Tacos

Tacos Dorados de Camaron AKA “golden shrimp tacos” arbol chile salsa, cabbage & avocado. The golden taco means a fried taco… holy hell! drooling!

District M

A5 Wagyu beef.. the best quality meat on the market, barely seared and melts in your f*cking mouth.

Banshee

Scallop crudo topped with fish roe – OMG, this is one of my favorite dishes. Raw scallops are so buttery, taste amazing and the fish roe adds the perfect amount of saltiness.

Poke Burri

They’re so unique that they deserve two posts. This is their sushi pizza!! It’s a secret menu item that you need to order 24 hours in advance. The crust, is it’s own sushi roll! Amazing!

White Bull

Sea bass Crudo – ugh yes please. Raw sea bass under a bed of red cabbage and covered with sesame seeds!! Simple ingredients yet amazing.

Wrecking Bar Brew Pup

Smoked trout pate topped with salmon roe inside of a blood sausage pastry! Just try it and thank me later.

Momonoki

Fishballs covered in fish flakes (they literally move on their own).

What do you think? Was there a dish that stood out that you really want to try? Or do you have a unique savory dish I need to try ASAP? Let me know in the comments!

Atlanta Rooftop Bars

Did you know they call Atlanta the empire state of the south? Our skyline continues to expand and while it’ll most likely never get to the level of NYC, it’s still beautiful and fun to admire while sipping cocktails at some of my favorite rooftop bars.
[on your phone? turn your phone sideways for optimal viewing – you’re welcome]

The Roof at Ponce City

Located in Old Fourth Ward
Atop the restored Sears & Roebuck building. Inside you’ll find a food hall + shopping, businesses & apartments. On the rood you’ll find the amusement park, Skyline Park so aptly named, 9 Mile Station (the restaurant), and 12 cocktail bar. All are great for grabbing a cocktail or two.
side note: this is how you stand in your stilettos so you’re heels don’t fall through the grates – lol

Gypsy Kitchen

Located in Buckhead
It’s the perfect spot to meet your friends after work to avoid ATL’s traffic and enjoy some drinks.

Hotel Clermont

Located in Old Fourth Ward
Atop the renovated Hotel Clermont is this astro turf covered roof with views of downtown. If you pop into the lobby bar you’re bound to see Playboy’s from the 50’s. It’s all apart of the hotel’s seedy past. Don’t you just love a seedy past.

New Realm Brewing

Located in Old Fourth Ward
This brewery is located right on the Beltline and has a large patio with Beltline and city views. Grab some of their beers and watch the beautiful sunsets.
Beer suggestion: Hazy like a fox (one of my fav IPA’s).

O’ku

Located in West Midtown
This is my favorite sushi restaurant. The fish is always top quality, the atmosphere is fun and vibrant and the rooftop is perfect for happy hour + late night vibes.

JCT Kitchen & Bar

Located in West Midtown
Delicious southern style food and fun cocktails, sitting above the railroad tracks with industrial buildings surrounding it. They play live music on some nights, so be on the lookout for that!

5Church

Located in Midtown
This large rooftop patio space is perfect for weekend brunching or late night weekend fun.

There are more rooftop bars in the city that are on my list to try. Do you have any you would recommend? Let me know in the comments. Salut!

Doors & Doorknobs

I have this thing with doors and doorknobs. It’s a real obsession. I first fell in love with their uniqueness when I lived in France during a study abroad. I lived in a monastery with nuns (yes, that’s correct, I know that monasteries are traditionally homes of monks but in this case it was nuns). It was a tiny town in Normandy called Bayeux. It was so whimsical and had beautiful architecture everywhere you looked.

I was a photography major and we had to build out our darkroom in this tiny second floor space. It had a classroom area and then a 5×10 foot room we used for the darkroom. It had a large window that we had to black out. I remember spending an afternoon in the space with my professor Perry blacking everything out with blackout tape and black paper. We made it happen. The first photo below is a piece from a series I shot, developed and printed in Bayeux. There was something truly magical about being in that tiny space with a little red light bringing an image to life from the streets just outside. It’s one of my favorite pieces that I’ve shot and it started a love for unique doors and doorknobs that I’ve had ever since.

But first we must knock…

and then we can enter, lol.

Do you share my love of unique doors and doorknobs? These are all from France, Spain, Ireland and Italy. Have you seen some in another country that are amazing that I need to see? Let me know in the comments. I would love to see more!